Family-owned clothing retailer Lakeland Leather has entered administration with a buyer for the company being sought.
The company, which runs 22 stores across the UK, sells leather coats, handbags and luggage. It stated that financial difficulties occurred because of high lease costs and a mild winter, which resulted in fewer people looking to buy warm leather jackets.
Chris Williams and Andrew McTear of insolvency specialist McTear, Williams & Wood, have been appointed as joint administrators of Lakeland (Lakeland Properties Ltd). They have already achieved a pre-pack arrangement, which will see four of the stores at K-Village in Kendal, Spalding, Gloucester and Antrim closed immediately.
The administrators said that they would continue to trade from as many of the stores as possible while a buyer is sought for the company or some of its leases. Around 200 jobs are reportedly at risk, with 18 of the stores having closing down sales and their future now uncertain.
Richard Standring, who founded the first store in Ambleside in the 1960s, has vowed to do everything he can to save the remaining stores and all the jobs. He commented: "The odds seem stacked against us. We just about survived the depths of the recession but it left the business weak and in debt. Then last winter the weather was really mild so sales of our leather jackets and coats were down. It tipped us over the edge.”
The administrators hope that by slashing the prices in the closing down sales the business will continue to turn over enough money to keep the company afloat while a solution is found.
20 June 2014